January 27, 2015

NOT The Onion: “We must dismantle the tyranny of the white male syllabus.” [Darleen Click]

I’m going to post the whole thing because … because … I’m in awe (and not in a good way) …

Remember now, this is the nation’s number one ranked public university:

We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.

We have major concerns about social theory courses in which white men are the only authors assigned. These courses pretend that a minuscule fraction of humanity — economically privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States) — are the only people to produce valid knowledge about the world. This is absurd. The white male syllabus excludes all knowledge produced outside this standardized canon, silencing the perspectives of the other 99 percent of humanity.

The white male canon is not sufficient for theorizing the lives of marginalized people. None of the thinkers we studied in this course had a robust analysis of gender or racial oppression. They did not even engage with the enduring legacies of European colonial expansion, the enslavement of black people and the genocide of indigenous people in the Americas. Mentions of race and gender in the white male canon are at best incomplete and at worst racist and sexist. We were required to read Hegel on the “Oriental realm” and Marx on the “Asiatic mode of production,” but not a single author from Asia. We were required to read Weber on the patriarchy, but not a single feminist author. The standardized canon is obsolete: Any introduction to social theory that aims to be relevant to today’s problems must, at the very least, address gender and racial oppression.

The exclusions on the syllabus were mirrored in the classroom. Although the professor said he wanted to make the theory relevant to present issues, the class was out of touch with the majority of students’ lives. The lectures often incorporated current events, yet none of the examples engaged critically with gender or race. The professor even failed to mention the Ferguson events, even though he lectured about prisons, normalizing discourse and the carceral archipelago in Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish” the day after the grand jury decision on the murder of Michael Brown.

Furthermore, the classroom environment felt so hostile to women, people of color, queer folks and other marginalized subjects that it was difficult for us to focus on the course material. Sometimes, we were so uncomfortable that we had to leave the classroom in the middle of lecture. For example, when lecturing on Marx’s idea of the “natural division of labor between men and women,” the professor attributed some intellectual merit to this idea because men and women are biologically distinct from each other, because women give birth while men do not. One student asked, “What about trans* people?” to which the professor retorted, “There will always be exceptions.” Then, laughing, the professor teased, “We may all be transgender in the future.” Although one might be tempted to dismiss these remarks as a harmless attempt at humor, mocking trans* people and calling them “exceptions” is unacceptable.

This was not an isolated incident. In another lecture, the professor cited the highly racialized case of the Hurricane Katrina fallout as an example of people in a poor, brutish, Hobbesian “state of nature.” Moreover, he talked about Native American traditions and beliefs as examples of illogical and irrational superstition. All of these incidents are connected to a larger systemic problem with inclusion in classroom spaces at UC Berkeley. In the 2013 campus climate survey, 26 percent of respondents reported that they had personally experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and/or hostile conduct. The survey also found that marginalized students, such as trans* and black students, had experienced exclusionary conduct at rates much higher than average.

We need to create classroom spaces where everyone can feel welcome. We recommend that instructors attend workshops on inclusivity in the classroom, such as those offered by the Gender Equity Resource Center. Beyond that, we must restructure the way social theory is taught. We must dismantle the tyranny of the white male syllabus. We must demand the inclusion of women, people of color and LGBTQ* authors on our curricula. We must break, systematically and explicitly, the epistemological assumptions on which this exclusionary education rests.

So, if you have taken classes in the social sciences and humanities, we challenge you: Count the readings authored by white males and those authored by the majority of humanity. Then ask yourself: Are your identities and the identities of people you love reflected on these syllabi? Whose perspectives and life experiences are excluded? Is it really worth it to accumulate debt for such an epistemically poor education?

Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perret are students at UC Berkeley. Perret is also an intern at the Gender Equity Resource Center.

Just another example that colleges and universities are not about education but are indoctrination centers.

Until the Holy Victim Studies Departments of the UC system are closed, taxpayer money should be withdrawn. And the parents of such precious hothouse flowers need to be publicly shamed.

(h/t Glenn Reynolds)

Posted by Darleen @ 8:16pm
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January 27, 2015

HuffPo’s Sofia Eribo uses Holocaust Remembrance Day to engage in some anti-Semitism [Darleen Click]

Nothing says Judenhass like appropriating a singular historical monstrosity and using to grind your own grievances

EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog previously contained quotation marks around the six million figure on Holocaust deaths. The author did not mean cast doubt over the figure, it was meant as a quotation. We apologise for any offence this caused.

For the US and EU member states, January 27 is a time to reflect on the horror that was the Holocaust. As the number of living survivors of that genocide dwindles, it’s more important than ever they give their public testimonies so that for the younger generations, it’s not just some random, freak occurrence they read about in history books, staring at black and white pictures. In this age of hyper-technology, it needs to be ‘real’ – to have a human face, lest it should ever happen again.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was such a day to commemorate the millions of black African victims of slavery? Unlike the six million figure that so often goes with statistic about the number of Jews killed during the Second World War, it’s not so easy to quantify when it comes to black slaves.

Slavery, even chattel slavery, was ubiquitous since the beginning of human history. There are few words available that can express the horror of the trade out of Africa.

However, it still doesn’t even come close to what happened in Nazi Germany.

It isn’t a numbers game, it is about intent and motive.

Slaves were treated as property.

Jews were considered vermin to be exterminated, down to the last child.

Never forget.

Posted by Darleen @ 2:20pm
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January 27, 2015

“Bowe Bergdahl to be charged with desertion”

But hey, before you criticize Obama for what appears to be a really poor trade from of an overmatched GM, you have to first decide who’s side he’s really playing for. Because that changes the whole dynamic.

Context is key.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:18am
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January 27, 2015

“Sharyl Attkisson to Testify on ‘Free Press Issues’ at Attorney General Nomination Hearing”

Daily Signal:

Former CBS reporter and Daily Signal senior independent contributor Sharyl Attkisson will testify at this week’s confirmation hearings for Loretta Lynch, who was nominated by President Obama to replace Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General.

Attkisson, who was invited to speak on a panel of witnesses by the Senate Judiciary Committee led by Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, will address issues concerning freedom of the press.

She tells The Daily Signal:

The Senate Judiciary Committee is concerned about a number of free press issues, as are many journalists. They want to touch on some of those issues at the hearing for the attorney general nominee.

Attkisson has been highly critical of the Justice Department in her investigative reporting of Operation Fast and Furious and the Benghazi terrorist attacks.

While covering these events, Attkisson alleges that the Justice Department illegally monitored her phone and computer.

— And, as it turns out, likely her car and travel patterns, too. Though she’s not alone in that.

Time for another book, Sharyl — though please note that some “conservative” opinion leaders will caution you to stop the unhelpful hysteria over stuff that will Help The Children.

For FREEDOM!

As an aside, I find it humorous that we have in Jen Rubin, Shaw, and a number of others, today’s purported (and paid) opinion drivers for “the right” — when not so long ago they were accusing those of us with actual classical liberal sensibilities of being bloodthirsty warmongers who wish indiscriminately to kill — and doing so by intentionally and in bad faith misrepresenting what we wrote. But hey, I guess that gets you a paying gig in the world of the new nuanced, grown-up “right.”

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:13am
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January 27, 2015

Well, if nothing else, the latest White House security breach teaches a valuable civics lesson:

Never, ever drink and drone.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:55am
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January 27, 2015

I hate to admit it, but I can’t outdo Allahpundit on this one:

My deference duly paid, let me just add an addendum, in the form of an instructive: if you even conceive of authenticity as a kind of costume worn for specific audiences on specific occasions, your very misunderstanding of what authenticity actually is dictates that you have absolutely no chance of ever achieving it.

Romney is the GOP’s version of Zelig. And every bit as fictional. It’s time for him to exit, stage left — which would almost be like a political performative.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:52am
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January 26, 2015

“Abortion Killed 19 Times as Many Blacks as Murder”

Well, first you have to think of aborted fetuses as babies, but at the very least I think we can all agree that what was killed were the biological conditions and materials that, left to their own devices would, in most cases, result in the completion of a human baby. Which, I grant, is a minor nitpick.

Beyond that, I don’t have much to write on the subject — mostly because the majority of those tethered to a political position on the abortion issue don’t bother to read anything that doesn’t confirm their biases, unless it’s with the goal in mind to seize a particular out of context phrase (eg., women “harboring” 5-month-old viable children, which evidently is a monstrous formation for a term of art that I suspect the feminist pro-choice absolutists will claim they own, their having uteri and whatnot, and those women with uteri who don’t happen to adopt their same viewpoints being nothing more than closet self-haters, or sufferers of false consciousness).

So instead, I figured I’d do what all the cool kids are doing today. Just create a hashtag and send it out into the world laden with as many implications as I can stuff into a tiny phrase. And for this purpose I’ve settled on the following: #HandsUpCocksDown

You can thank me later.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 4:43pm
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January 26, 2015

Obama doesn’t believe in “nation building”

…unless it involves fundamental transformation, in the case of the US; the installation of the Muslim Brotherhood and the spread of a caliphate, in the case of Egypt and Yemen; and now, the deposing of Bibi Netanyahu in Israel in favor of some left-wing appeasenik who might actually take Obama’s feckless, bullshit approach to “peace” in the Middle East — which seems to involve empowering Iran and fighting all serious attempts to destroy Islamic radicalism — seriously:

Caroline Glick picked up on one article the Israeli left-wing paper Ha’aretz didn’t bother translating into English that details Obama’s involvement in the upcoming Israeli elections. A summary of the article is provided by IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis):

Haaretz reporter Roi Arad revealed in an article in the Hebrew edition today [January 26] that the foreign funded organization, “One Voice”, is bankrolling the V-2015 campaign to defeat Binyamin Netanyahu’s national camp in the March 2015 Knesset Elections.

One indication of the generous financing is that it has now flown in a team of five American campaign experts (including Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign’s national field director) who will run the campaign out of offices taking up the ground floor of a Tel Aviv office building.

V-2015 is careful not to support a specific party – rather “just not Bibi”. As such, the foreign funds pouring into the campaign are not subject to Israel’s campaign finance laws.

Glick commented via Facebook:

Obama won’t meet Benjamin Netanyahu – ?????? ?????? in Washington when he addresses the Joint Houses of Congress in March because of Netanyahu’s visit’s proximity to the Israeli elections. And Obama, of course believes in protocol and propriety which is why he won’t get involved. No, he’s not getting involved at all. He’s just sending his 2012 field campaign manager to Israel to run a campaign to defeat Netanyahu. That’s all. No interference whatsoever.

[…] It should come as no surprise then that Haaretz, known on this side of the globe for its freakish ability to generate anonymous White House sources that love talking about how much Obama hates Bibi (a shared talent among the Left) would conveniently forget to translate this little news item for their English-reading audience.

There was a time when foreign policy realists sought to influence foreign elections to keep radicals out of power, believing them likely to work against US interests.

Obama has reversed that trend: now he wants only those in power who he believes will “level” the world playing field. Meaning, he wants to see the US humbled, and his beloved Muslim Brotherhood pals empowered.

It’s a sick situation. But then, when you twice elect a Red Diaper Baby with narcissistic tendencies and no real intellectual filter, moral or otherwise — his anti-Semitism is even more startling than that of Jimmy Carter, who at least had the good sense to disguise it as much as possible until after he failed so miserably as president — what you get is an idealogue looking for fellow-traveling “revolutionaries” looking to upset balances of power.

That they do so knowing that they won’t likely be affected by the shifts — their money and lifetime protection shields them from the consequences of their own reprehensible actions — just highlights how disgustingly cynical and craven they are, all in the name of a failed and dangerous worldview that has, at last count, killed well over 100 million people in the last 100 or so years.

Jesus. What has become of this once great country, reduced to Idiocracy for the real world and peopled with pig-ignorant sheep who have been taught that their every insipid opinion needs be valued as highly as those that signal fidelity to truth, logic, and intellectual rigor?

We are Moron Nation. In the throes of self-loathing as a prelude to national suicide. Propeller-festooned caps, mandatory knee-socks, and spiked Kool-Aid can’t be far off.

Still, just for fun, let me say this about our Good Man-in-chief: I hope he fails.

(h/t Geoff B)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:26pm
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January 26, 2015

My advice for being able always to look yourself in the mirror:

Sometimes you just have to put on your threadbare blazer and Elliot Gould ’70s lip crumpet, jump up on a table, and shout vulgar limericks. Because in doing so, what you’re expressing is true — and the truth these days is the ultimate act of transgression — creating in you an obligation to share it. (Begins about 1:50:45)

The political blogosphere has been my table. So it goes.

Of course, in the 80s, Miles Talby put it a different way in a colloquy to Joel Goodsen. But the point still stands…

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:19am
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January 24, 2015

“We cannot have these cities with low density, designed for the use of cars.” [Darleen Click]

“We recommend those cities should have more density and more mass transportation.”

A scheme via Al Gore and Felipe Calderon proposed at Davos — whose attendees used 1,700 private jets to get there.

This is not because everyone wants to live cheek-to-jowl in 250 square feet of rented housing where privacy is nearly unknown and movement is dependent on government. It is the fulfillment of the desires of all totalitarians, as succinctly expressed by an infamous Roman Emperor:

“I wish the Roman people had only one neck!”

Posted by Darleen @ 1:41pm
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